FILM OF THE WEEK: Tyrannosaur
Channel 4, Tuesday December 10, 11:10pm
Earlier this year the telly-watching nation cheered as Olivia Colman picked up two BAFTAs, one for best-supporting actress and the other for best female comedy performance. She had, after all, just captured hearts alongside David Tenant in hit ITV crime series Broadchurch. But as anyone who had already seen Colman’s heartbreaking performance in Tyrannosaur knew, those awards were simply BAFTA over-compensating for the howler it had made 12 months earlier.
To this day there are still plenty of people scratching their now seriously sore heads in bemusement at the British Academy’s failure to shortlist Colman for best actress in 2012. It was as if Tyrannosaur had passed it by, which, given that Tyrannosaur was one of the most widely-praised British films of the time, seems unlikely. There was certainly no shortage of plaudits for the former-Peep Show actress’s powerhouse portrayal of a charity shop worker whose Christian sentiment masks a horrifically oppressive domestic life.
The triumph isn’t only hers, however. Peter Mullan is in searingly fine form as the violent loner on whom Coleman’s character takes pity, while Paddy Considine’s move behind the camera must surely be considered one of the finest directorial debuts in recent history. Exposing the brutality of broken lives with unflinching honesty, the trio have given us an uncompromising vision of anguish that mainstream cinema could never hope to achieve.
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Film4, Friday December 6, 11pm
Those who’ve obsessively pursued something, against the advice of others, to the point of ill health will find much in psychological thriller Pi. The first film by Darren Aronofsky, who would go on to resurrect Mickey Rourke’s career with The Wrestler and win an Oscar for Black Swan, its low-budget indie aesthetic sits perfectly with the story of a mathematician who stumbles upon a number that may or may not be the key to stock market success or the access code for paradise. Featuring a cracking soundtrack by Clint Mansell, Breaking Bad fans should look out for Mark ‘Hector Salamanca’ Margolis in a supporting role.
Channel 4, Saturday December 7, 12:45PM
Ever read a tech article or gadget review that makes mention of ‘early adopters’ and wondered exactly who it is talking about? The premise behind The Joneses (spoiler alert) is that the family that is always the first to have the latest and greatest consumer products can be used to drive envy (and thus sales) throughout their neighbourhood and beyond. A satire of the marketing fever that fuels western capitalism, the film can’t quite see this through to fruition, but still offers some bite through leads David Duchovny and Demi Moore.
AI: Artificial Intelligence
BBC Two, Saturday December 7, 10:45pm
Fans of Stanley Kubrick won’t need reminding that AI was the film the auteur had wanted to make but never managed to get beyond the pre-production stage before his death in 1999. But they might need a stern word to convince them that Steven Spielberg’s finished version of this tale of a 21st century Pinocchio is worthy of their consideration. Worthy it is, however, and despite the inevitably sentimental Spielbergian approach, AI still offers a poetic meditation on the core emotions that fire our instinct to live.